There have been some pretty significant personnel moves involving New England in the past 24 hours, but tonight, it’s all about the opportunity in front of them.
On the road in a hostile Kansas City environment, New England have a chance to kick Sporting KC while they’re down and burgle three enormous points in the process.
The Revs have proven to be road warriors over the past month without Juan Agudelo, picking up five goals and six points in three straight road matches before their home loss last week to Toronto.
(MORE: Juan Agudelo signs for Stoke City, joins Premier League in January)
They’ll need every ounce of that to beat a Kansas City side still licking their wounds after last week’s 3-2 loss in front of the home fans to the New York Red Bulls. Keeper Jimmy Nielson called it “one of the worst games of my whole career defensively.”
Sporting manager Peter Vermes echoed that sentiment. “We gave up three goals that were horrendous goals. All of them,” Vermes said. “All three of them were bad on our part. With me, that is unacceptable. Those goals were horrendous.”
It’s not all bad for Kansas City though. They moved the ball well taking 27 shots on the New York goal, and aside from their moments of error, were a much improved side from the one two weeks ago that dropped to Montreal 1-0. Benny Feilhaber agrees.
“We played good enough to win but just had a few lapses of concentration so we just have to try and get that out of our game” said Feilhaber. “One good thing in MLS is that you have plenty of games and when we get to the playoffs hopefully we have all of that stuff corrected because that’s when it really matters.”
Feilhaber may be needed again, as Graham Zusi remains day-to-day with his thigh injury from the All-Star game.
It sounds like Benny believes the playoffs are a rung under a guarantee at this point, so Kansas City better not get too complacent. They’re in second place in the Eastern Conference, just two back of New York for the top spot. But with eleven fixtures still on the docket, they’re also just three points clear of fifth, and six points clear of the playoff cut.
Not to say this squad won’t make the postseason, they’re too good for that. But with Revs squad coming in hot, there’s no time for coulda woulda shoulda. It’s starting to get to put up or shut up time in the season, and now would be a good time for both teams to put up.
For that reason, something in the air says this game won’t be like the scoreless draw we saw back in March…